World powers 'satisfied with constructive atmosphere' in Iran nuke talks in Istanbul

World powers 'satisfied with constructive atmosphere' in Iran nuke talks in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
World powers satisfied with constructive atmosphere in Iran nuke talks in Istanbul

Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, speaks to media in Istanbul. REUTERS photo

A new round of nuclear talks, held in Istanbul between Western countries and Iran, have so far been “constructive” and “different from the previous meeting," a European Union diplomat said, adding that the parties discussed “core issues.”

“We are satisfied with the constructive atmosphere in last two and half hours, compared to the last time when they did not engage in talks, saying they had preconditions,” Michael Mann, spokesman for EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, told reporters today on the sidelines of the meeting in Istanbul. “That was not the case this time. There was a discussion this time about the issues.”

P5+1, which consists of six world powers - the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain, met senior Iranian officials for the first time in 15 months for talks aimed at calming deepening tensions over Tehran's nuclear program.

Mann said EU sanctions against Iran played a role in Tehran agreeing to resume talks on its nuclear program. “We believe our sanctions are justified in the light of what IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] has achieved,” he said.

“We have a twin-track approach, which involves discussions and sanctions, so we think it is an effective policy,” Mann said.

Following lunch, P5+1 members had bilateral talks with Iranian representatives later in the day, the spokesperson said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a series of bilateral meetings with EU and Iranian representatives. He talked separately with Ashton and Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili earlier in the day.

After meeting with Jalili, Davutoğlu met again with the EU representative, according to a Turkish diplomat, adding that Davutoğlu is also scheduled to talk with the Iranian official again later today.

 Talks went nowhere the last time Iran met with the P5+1 in Istanbul in Jan. 2011, as Tehran refused to broach the nuclear issue.

"What we are here to do is to find ways in which we can build confidence between us and ways in which we can demonstrate that Iran is moving away from a nuclear weapons program," Ashton said in a statement today.   

Jalili met Ashton at a dinner yesterday and told the EU representative he hoped the major powers would "win the Iranian nation's trust in this round of negotiations," as reported by Iran's state television.